The % of people uninsured is at the lowest level ever recorded, but not yet zero. pic.twitter.com/whtIBcb075
— Larry Levitt (@larry_levitt) February 5, 2016
This is good news. The questions are how to keep pushing that number done some more and how to make sure that the people who are covered actually can use the medical system without fear of bankruptcy.
The data is lagging a little bit so with the current open enrollment seeing roughly a million more people sign up and 1.3 million more people actually pay their first month’s premiums, this will knock down another .2% (~330K = .1%, roughly half of enrollees on Exchange were uninsured). One of the big drivers over the past three years has been the expansion of Medicaid. Pennsylvania and Indiana were the big states that expanded Medicaid in 2015. There are no other large states with expansion plans for 2016. Alaska and Montana are still ramping up their enrollment but even if 100% of all qualified individuals in those two states sign up for Medicaid expansion, they won’t move the needle at all. If Texas or Florida or North Carolina or Georgia got on board, that would be a major event leading to a significant reduction in the ranks of the uninsured.
Update 1: What about Louisiana — yep, as a few astute correspondants pointed out, I totally forgot Louisiana. Louisiana intends to open up Medicaid Expansion for July 1, 2016. That will increase the eligible pool for several hundred thousand people. My mistake for forgetting about Louisiana.